For a fantastic day out on Bank Holiday Monday the 29th May, set your sights on the lovely market town of Shipston-on-Stour, in Warwickshire, where the annual Wool Fair is on from 10am to 4pm. It’s a great day out for all ages with lots of things to see and do.
A Sheep and Wool Fair was held every year up to the mid 1800s but the tradition died out until 2009, when it was resurrected for the first time in 150 years by the late Mayor elect, Angela Noyce. It was so successful that a group of volunteers have run the Wool Fair every year since. It’s now entering its eighth year and will be bigger better and woolly-er than ever.
- The ‘Sheep Exhibition’ will be the focal point of the Fair with a record number of different breeds of sheep, up to 20 different rare breeds of sheep this year.
- Live sheep shearing demonstrations by Alan Scorer will be held throughout the day featuring different shearing systems and with the ever popular ‘how long does it take to shear a sheep’ competition
- The Stratford upon Avon Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers will show their expertise with traditional skills with wool in a variety of different ways.
- There will be opportunities for you and your children to try your hand at spinning, weaving, knitting and felting
- See the magnificent Shipston Tapestry, woven by local people, as a map in the tradition of the medieval Barcheston Tapestries. This is a community project that has created history.
- There are a wide range of stalls with lots of quality goods which reflect strong links with the wool industry and local farm produce
- Entertainment throughout the day will cater for all ages and tastes including a large screen video of sheep dogs working sheep. There will also be a shepherd with one of his dogs to tell you all about the life of a shepherd and to answer any questions you may have.
- Come and see the vintage tractors
There’s something for everyone to enjoy. We are looking forward to seeing you!
The purpose of the Wool Fair is to put people in touch with the heritage of the area in a ‘fun’ and quirky way. It’s a great day out for people of all ages and for local enterprise. The highlight of the Fair, as always, is the real life exhibition of sheep including many rare breeds and ‘celebrity’ sheep. Brought to the Fair with long coats, the sheep will leave after being shorn in front of a captive audience, led by shearer Alan Scorer. Alan will be demonstrating traditional shearing methods alongside the more modern electrical cutters. And of course there will be a heated competition to guess the time taken to shear a sheep!
There’s a ‘Wool Process’ marquee that will be show how wool gets turned into all kinds of things. You’ll see how wool evolves through spinning, weaving, knitting and felting. The Stratford upon Avon Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers will be on hand with their support and craft demonstrations showing the many applications of wool.
There will be a large video screen too this year, showing marvellous sheep dog demonstrations, filmed especially for the Wool Fair.
You will also get to see the finished Shipston Tapestry. Designed by Ros Lobb of the Stratford Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, the tapestry measures almost 5ft in length. The tapestry, was woven on a traditional wooden loom and shows the wonderful landscape which surrounds Shipston, including the famous river Stour where sheep were once brought to be washed and some of Shipston’s prominent buildings from its iconic Georgian Architecture to its much used churches and schools. The wooden loom was commissioned by Shipston Wool Fair and has been getting good use outside of the event too, including Packwood House and Compton Verney, where it was used as part of larger exhibitions and helped with tutorials in the age old art of weaving.
The Shipston Wool Fair will be celebrating all that Shipston has to offer. Come and enjoy and a good look around the friendly independent retailers that Shipston is proud to boast. From eateries, delicatessens, to ladies fashion boutiques, florists and and where you can buy high quality home furnishing, Shipston has it all.
There will be loads of games for children of all ages in the High Street, all manned by volunteers from Shipston Young Farmers, as well as the Wool Homage where children can be a sheep or sheepdog, or even a farmer or his wife. There is entertainment all day including all kinds of music and dance. And whilst you’re listening, why not enjoy looking at all the stalls in the square, which will be selling local crafts, all things woolly, and much more besides?